A wildly mixed bag of stories, some of which were marvelous (hi, Barbara Hambly!), some of which were awful (hi, author whose name I've blocked because it was SO BAD), many of which skated around somewhere in the middle. I do love me some outsider POV, though, and this was a wonderful collection of that.
My one regret, though, is what I find so very, very common in much of Holmesiana: either an author is all about elevating Holmes at the expense of Watson or elevating Watson at the expense of Holmes. Sure, this often makes sense in the context of the points of view in this collection, but too often it comes off as authors having axes to grind. And, sure, I should've expected some of this in the nature of the book (it's about other people's relationships with Holmes), but I feel like these stories (and so many pastiches) shoot themselves in the foot by ignoring much of what makes the original ACD stories so marvellous: the relationship between Holmes and Watson (and I don't even mean that in a subtextually groiny way). It comes off as a little authorial self-inserty: sure, Holmes and Watson were an okay pair of crimefighters, etc., but the one who was really
important was me. Er. My character.
It's part of why I so thoroughly enjoyed the new BBC version of Holmes: Sherlock may still be, well, Sherlock, but John Watson is a badass in his own right, and it's all about how they're simply more
together than they are apart. I think that's true in ACD as well, and I wish more pastiches recognized that.